It’s no secret that most people consume way too much sugar on a daily basis. I mean think about it – The (probably several) sweet cups of coffee that you drink every morning. The chocolate cake or donut you have around three o clock in the afternoon to get you through to dinner, the dessert you have after dinner, and the ice cream you get a craving for are all absolutely jam packed with the stuff (and I’m probably not even listing the half of it, not to mention the amount we consume on an exceptionally stressful day).
And you can bet your bottom dollar that anything labelled low fat should just read replaced by sugar. Men should be getting no more than roughly 70g of sugar per day, women 50; most people exceed that before lunchtime. In fact, the average American consumes about 31 pounds of sugar a year.
It’s not your fault. It’s an addiction that you’ve very likely been exposed to since you were just a kid. But like with every other addiction, there are a ton of risks involved with consuming too much sugar – Diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, premature aging, and even depression don’t even begin to scratch the tip of the iceberg.
Brooke Alpert, certified nutritionist and dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris, co-authors of the book The Sugar Detox understand exactly how you feel. They get where you’re coming from, and they have the solution:
Sugar truly is addictive. Your body reacts to it like a drug and craves it constantly. What we’re asking you to do is to quit – cold turkey.
The initial detox – the part of the plan that gets you through your addiction – takes three days, and that’s the part of the plan we’re going to be discussing today.
How It Works
Are you one of those people that has “tried to eat healthy” before but quit because you always felt hungry? Chances are that you weren’t hungry at all; it was a withdrawal from sugar making you feel that way.
During the three day detox, you won’t be eating any dairy, you’re not allowed to consume any fruit (aside from lemon and lime, although I’m not sure either one of those should actually count as a fruit anyway), you can’t have wheat or other starches, and you’re not allowed to add sugar to anything (including your coffee). Eventually you’ll slowly add these things (aside from the added sugars) back into your diet, but during the three days they could actually make you crave sugar more, so they should definitely be skipped out on altogether.
Don’t think that because those things are off the list that you’ll be feeling hungry all the time, though! This detox promotes the consumption of lean healthy proteins such as chicken, eggs, fish, and tofu, and tons of vegetables. Snacking is definitely allowed as long as you stick to nuts and pepper sticks with hummus (which is actually a lot more filling – and even appetizing – than it sounds).
I’m going to warn you in advance that if you’re a serious coffee addict, you might have a little bit of difficulty with this detox – It only allows you one cup of black coffee per day. However, you can have as much green or herbal tea as you’d like, and you’re encouraged to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day (which can be flavoured with the lemon and/or lime if you’re someone that prefers a little flavour).
Here’s an example of what you’d be eating during the three days:
Breakfast: Three Scrambled Eggs
Snack: A handful of nuts (almonds are always a great choice – and my personal favourite – but any nut works).
Lunch: A poached (or baked) chicken breast with mixed baby greens drizzled in lemon juice and half of an avocado.
Snack: Pepper sticks with spinach hummus.
Dinner: Salmon with stir fried vegetables and edamame or spinach.
Breakfast: An omelette made with three scrambled eggs, spinach, and mushrooms.
Lunch: Leafy greens with tuna (season with lemon and/or lime juice).
Snack: Pepper sticks dipped in hummus.
Dinner: Lettuce salad with avocado (and more lemon and lime juice if you’d like), pork tenderloin roast, and sautéed Brussel sprouts and mushrooms.
Breakfast: Three scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach, tarragon, and shrimp.
Snack: Nuts (doesn’t have to be the same nuts every day – Feel free to experiment and find your favourite!).
Lunch: A grilled turkey burger with sliced tomato, lettuce, and sautéed mushrooms with some kale chips.
Snack: Pepper sticks with hummus (Protip: Hummus can be purchased at the grocery store, but I promise you it tastes so much better when you make it yourself. Here’s a super easy recipe that can be tweaked to suit your individual taste – aka more or less garlic, no paprika, etc. If you have a food processor or blender, you have no excuses).
Dinner: Baked salmon or cod served over bok choy (squeeze lemon over it if you need a bit of a flavour boost) with mixed greens.
So, as you can see, you’re certainly not going to starve while you’re doing this detox.
That’s Not To Say That You’re Not Going To Feel Hungry, Though
As I mentioned before, your body will probably go through a sort of “withdrawal” while you’re detoxing from sugar, and that could present itself with undeniable feelings of hunger for the first day or so. It’s going to be a case of mind over matter here – You’re going to have to convince yourself that you’re not hungry. But you’ll get through it, and you’ll feel so much better after you do.
Does It Work?
If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that the odds of you being successful on this diet (which if you look at the book you’ll see spans far more than the initial three day detox) will depend strictly on your level of willpower. You’re probably going to experience some moodiness and you might get a pretty rough headache, but if you can get through all of that, I don’t doubt for a second that you could at least begin to beat by using the advice in this plan.
Do I think that the three days are some magic cure-all and that once they’re over you could sit in front of a chocolate cake or a box of your favourite donuts without even being tempted? Not even close. But that’s what the rest of the book is for. I like this diet because it deals with changing your eating habits long term and focuses mainly on the importance of a diet that’s high in whole and organic foods.
Is It Safe?
For you? Sure. For the people that have to live and/or work with and around you, maybe not. Your best bet is probably to do this detox when you’ve got three days to basically hide in your room (or keep yourself busy, whatever works best for you) just in case you end up experiencing the killer headaches and/or mood swings.
All in all, this eating plan is not only great for helping you kick your sugar habit, it’s a great choice for absolutely anyone that’s looking to change their eating habits and lead a stronger, healthier life altogether.
Have you ever tried to kick your addiction to sugar in the past? Were you successful or did you ‘fall off the wagon’ after a while because of the temptation and/or convenience of sugary, over processed foods? We’d love to hear your story – Share it to us in the comments section below!
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